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Good News in Drug Testing

Could it be that American business is starting to come to their senses and reject the government’s propaganda (and the lies of the drug testing industry)? Reynolds Holding at Time.com seems to think so. Check out his article: Whatever Happened to Drug Testing?

The percentage of businesses that force their employees to pee in a cup is dropping — largely because it never made much sense in the first place […]
Despite the growing demand for drug tests in sports and other fields, the percentage of employers with testing programs has dropped steadily since 1996, from 81% to 62% in 2004, according to the American Management Association, which sees the trend continuing. […]
Pragmatists contend that the drop-off is mostly a matter of cost. Although individual drug tests seem cheap — $25 to $50 each, according to Quest — the total expense gets difficult to justify when so few tests come up positive. According to a 1999 ACLU study, the federal government spent $11.7 million to find 153 drug users among almost 29,000 employees tested in 1990, a cost of $77,000 per positive test. Many industries, particularly construction, transportation, health care and retail, also face labor shortages, and the fierce competition for workers may compel employers to forgo drug tests that could dissuade or disqualify people from taking a job — either because they take drugs or simply resent the invasion of privacy.
But the most persuasive explanation for testing’ s fall from favor is that, from a business perspective, it never made much sense. Companies began to test primarily because the federal government drafted them into the war on drugs. [emphasis added]

This is an excellent trend. If it continues, eventually those companies with mandatory drug testing will begin to realize that they are at a competitive disadvantage.
The Time article also exposes one of the dirtiest tricks used by the drug testing industry — the allegation that recreational drug users were five time more likely to file worker’s compensation claims (example) and other similar contentions. The thing is, these are all complete lies.

But the benefits were always at best a bit murky. The oft-cited research, the so-called Firestone Study, was actually a 1972 speech given to lunching Firestone Tire and Rubber executives by an advocate for helping employees overcome “medical-behavioral problems” like alcoholism. The advocate, whose name has long been forgotten, mentioned drugs only in passing and never identified the source for the statistics or anything else that might make the numbers credible. Truth be told, employment experts say there has been virtually no research indicating that drug tests improve safety or productivity on the job.

You got to give the drug testing industry some backhanded credit, I guess — an entire business plan built upon a lie — and they’ve made billions off it.
I’ve stated this before, and I’ll repeat it here: I’ll never work for a company that has mandatory suspicion-less drug testing. Just for the principle of it. I could pass a drug test with flying colors (as long as they don’t test for caffeine), but I won’t be part of a company that has such poor management philosophy. I believe in personnel management done by people, not by urine. And as a manager, I’ve had no hesitations about firing someone who shows up to work drunk or stoned (you don’t need to force all your employees to piss in a cup to figure that one out). But it’s also none of my business what they do on Friday night, if they show up on Monday ready to work.
In other drug testing fields, I’ve got to say that I’m also cautiously pleased at a feeling I’m getting regarding school drug testing. While I don’t have any numbers to back it and there are school districts regularly adding drug testing around the country, I’m starting to see more and more articles where the idea is being seriously questioned by school board members and the community in terms of cost, effectiveness and the invasiveness into individual students’ privacy. Certainly, the work done by SSDP, ACLU, DPA and others in this area has made a difference. And all it takes is a couple of people to not blindly accept the claims of the drug testing industry — to ask some intelligent questions and point out the problems with drug testing.
Maybe we can get rid of this cancerous blight on our society.

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